If you come to one of our theatre groups, you’ll already know tutor Daniel Ramsden. But did you know later this month that he’ll be taking over as our new Participation Programme Manager?
To mark the occasion, we sat down with him to talk about what he has in mind for participants over the coming months.
“I’ve always helped people make drama and films, and I make stuff myself. I’m always more interested in working with groups and communities to facilitate their ideas into something they’re proud of. Rather than going ‘we can do this production, you can be involved’,” says Daniel, who recently moved from London to Norfolk.
“I like to use appropriate mediums. I’ve worked in a school the past few years and students, especially teenagers, [can be] very resistant to drama which is understandable. Going up in front of those people is never comfortable at that age.
“If you’ve got a group that is very shy to get up and perform, you can do some creative writing, work in another way like filmmaking and digital media instead. It’s a really interesting and comfortable way to work.
“Theatre is important. It has a place. But with some young people and in certain communities who aren’t familiar with it, [I found] it didn’t land with them. Everyone is aware of what film and TV look like. Social media nowadays is all filmed and photographed content that they see regularly, and it’s really important to them.”
He’s enjoyed working with The Workshop’s broad age range of neurotypical and SEND participants.
“They’re enthusiastic, really engaged… Quite a few of the groups have existed for a while but they’ve really welcomed me into their communities. I’ll still be working with all of them while working with new ones and developing some new projects as we go.”
Daniel, who studied psychology and counselling at university, knows from experience how the arts can benefit people.
“I’m still not as confident as I should be or as I might appear. Creative expression is a really good way to build and give confidence. I joined a youth theatre when I was in Year 6. When I got to 14, I stopped doing the classes because I got awkward and shy.
“But I started doing backstage stuff. Then I got confident enough to start taking classes [again]. It [theatre] is a really different and unusual tool to help.”
Daniel likes working with organisations that use the arts a bit differently to help people.
“I worked with Bounce Theatre. They’re a community arts group that works very closely with communities. They’re currently doing some really nice work around deprivation… Starting a drama group in a church where we can food before and afterwards, and people can have a nice, warm space.
“During lockdown I helped them with a feminist podcast with a group of teenage girls. Everyone was isolated and it was around the time of the Sarah Everard case…
“The main thing I want to try to bring to The Workshop is a big range of activities that means everyone can enjoy their time there… And feel part of something. The other thing I want to make sure of is that we have something that is meeting the community’s needs.”
Booking for our summer term of classes is open. Term starts on Tuesday 25 April. It runs for 12-weeks excluding bank holidays and school holidays. Want to try before you buy. Taster sessions are £8 and £10.